MELBOURNE, JAN. 24 (SUNDAY) -- Steffi Graf, the Australian Open women's champion, now has her sights set on the Grand Slam.
Graf, 18, captured the Australian Open title and her second Grand Slam crown Saturday with a 6-1, 7-6 (7-3) victory over Chris Evert.
It is the first step on the long road to capturing tennis' four major events -- Australian, French and U.S. opens and Wimbledon -- in one year.
Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver continued a remarkable run today when they won the Australian Open women's doubles for the sixth consecutive time. The top seeds defeated Evert and Wendy Turnbull, 6-0, 7-5, for the 18th Grand Slam doubles title of their partnership.
They have won 58 of the 67 events they have played since pairing in 1981. For Navratilova, it was the 49th Grand Slam title of her career -- singles, women's doubles and mixed doubles. She trails only Australia's Margaret Court, who had 66.
Navratilova lost in the singles semifinals. She and Tim Gullikson lost the mixed doubles final, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, to Jim Pugh and Jana Novotna.
(In the men's final Sunday, Pat Cash of Australia was leading Mats Wilander of Sweden, 3-6, 7-6, 5-3, at press time. Rain delayed the match twice. The playing time was just under three hours.)
After beating Evert, Graf said, "It's a good way to start -- the best I could have. To win here is very important for the whole year, but I have won just one tournament. It's a long way ahead to start talking about winning a Grand Slam."
Evert, 33, winner of 18 Grand Slam events, is in a good position to judge Graf's potential. "I would be surprised if she won a Grand Slam -- especially this year," said Evert, who has played six Australian Opens and won in 1982 and '84. "I would be surprised if anybody won it -- the competition is getting tougher."
The last woman to achieve a calendar year Grand Slam was Court in 1970. Navratilova completed a non-calendar year Grand Slam by winning the 1984 French Open after winning Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Australian Open in 1983.
Graf, the 1987 French Open champion, won Saturday's first set handily and led, 5-1, in the second set, before Evert won five straight games. Graf, who did not lose a set in this tournament, recovered to win the next game and force the tie breaker, which she won easily.
The match -- at the new $60 million National Tennis Center -- was the first Grand Slam final to be played indoors.
Evert said the match took on a different complexion once tournament officials, with the players' approval, closed the center court roof after rain disrupted play early in the first set.
"It was a different environment, which she handled better. It felt a lot different from outdoors," said Evert. "After closing the roof it took me a long time to adjust. For two weeks I've been tossing the ball up and seeing blue sky and all of a sudden there was a black roof."